Just like high school, your junior year of college is projected to be your most difficult; and that’s proving to be very true. With four CEE (civil and environmental engineering) classes and a fifth Greek History elective, my workload has consumed all and a little more of the free time I have between extracurricular activities. With everything going on and due at the same time, it has been impossible to settle into my routine this semester. My life outside of classes has changed dramatically and become a lot more serious. I am no longer living in a real dorm room with the roommates I have had the past two years, the running club is officially competing and practicing, and I am feeling the leadership roles of being an upperclassman.
This year I’m living in a residential house, the “Outdoor Adventure House” located in Warren Square just off campus, which receives funding from Lehigh to go on various outdoorsy trips. There are about 16 other students in the house and we have been going on adventures every weekend. Unfortunately though, I have only had the time to go on one of them, a hiking trip through the Lehigh Gorge State Park in Jim Thorpe, PA. The town was only a 45 minute drive away and the river in the picture above is the Lehigh River which flows down just off campus, right through Bethlehem. My house has also gone white-water rafting, the Jersey Shore, and Ringing Rocks Park, all within about an hour or so drive. Several of us have brought mountain bikes and plan on checking out the trails around the mountaintop campus after exams are over.
Sort of coupled with the activities of the Outdoor Adventure House, is Running Club. After training and logging over 500 miles over the summer on my own, I decided to commit and join the club team, which consists of about 20 guys and 10 girls. Surprisingly most are freshmen who are still in great shape from high school. A team camping trip was organized one weekend, which was a great opportunity to bond with the other runners (though I missed out on my house white-water rafting). Our team is really fast, most should be running on a lower level college varsity team, and we have a decent chance to win the meet at Princeton this Saturday, September 28th. I’ll be running the 8k cross country race, despite feeling sick and missing a lot of training the last three weeks. Worrying about this race, the longest xc race I’ve run (roughly 5 miles), has just added to my stress.
The largest source of stress has been without a doubt Structural Analysis, CEE 159. Having to spend about 9-10 hours on the homework plus the 5.5 hours of class time throughout the week (a 3 hour recitation!) for this class alone is ridiculous. Outside of structures, Soil Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, and CE Materials all have labs (i.e. lab reports). Having to type up a 15 page lab report after just completing one and your five or six structures problems has defined my past week. And with exams coming up in a little more than a week, there seems to be no relief in sight.
Despite all the tough work and the busy schedule, I really have been enjoying my semester here as always. With all general classes in the rear view mirror, I have strictly CEE classes which are more interesting to me than a basic science or math class. I love all the opportunities I am getting with my extra-curricular activities; they keep me busy and doing the things I love. Hopefully I can soon settle into the semester and enjoy it even more.